Editorial: Russia trying to keep Ukraine unstable

PHOTO: Urmas Nemvalts

These past days, the issue is sharply up: how to prevent a large-scale armed conflict in Ukraine leading to casualties and other unpredictable consequences.

Via Russian media channels under their command,   Vladimir Putin’s regime keeps brazenly amplifying events in East-Ukrainian cities. A moving picture from a channel familiar for the viewer and trusted by him is a weapon allowing showing situations as need dictates. A couple of thousand demonstrators can be shown as a mass rally; law and order is easy to present as people being violent. Etc etc. To the viewer, they do not mention that these events are happening in cities of millions, and the «innocent one» battered by truncheon may be (and probably is) simply a masked troublemaker (or an outright provocateur).

Actually, independent public information is also lacking on the international scale. During the entire conflict, the air has been filled with slogans, accusations, irrelevant facts, endlessly amplified in the vastness of the World Wide Web. Hard to find one’s way, in this thicket.

Kiev, in its turn, is trying to keep order, while separatist movements in Eastern are jumping on bandwagons waiving slogans ever so catchy à la People’s Republic of Donetsk, acting in ways that in any state based on the rule of law would lead to serious incriminations. How else would one characterise the violent storming of local government buildings, as has happened in Donetsk, Kharkiv and Luhansk. President Putin has a goal (in near-term including an unstable Ukraine), to achieve which he is using forces directly controlled and uncontrollable.

Through the mouths of its leaders, Russia is threatening that if Kiev uses force to suppress protests in Eastern Ukraine, a civil war will erupt (and then Russia will be forced to intervene in the interests of compatriots – thus the sentence could be concluded). Meanwhile, it is unavoidable for the government of Arseniy Yatseniuk to enforce itself, in the name of the integrity and respectability of the state. In this, the West will have to be able to support him.

Through the mouth of its foreign minister Sergei Lavrov, Russia has been mentioning four-party-talks to feature Ukraine, Russia, USA and the European Union.

While, on the one hand Russia must be treated totally different internationally in wake of annexation of Crimea, one would welcome easing of tensions and the diplomatic path in the current situation. Still, the representation of Eastern and Western Ukraine – as demanded by Russia – is totally incomprehensible. On what basis, let us ask? An aggressor dictating terms for negotiations?

By making such absurd proposals and presenting them as something serious, Moscow is revealing its basic unwillingness to find a peaceful solution.